New WRAL Documentary Examines Controversy Over Puppy Mill Bill

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Focal Point: “Puppies and Politics”
New WRAL Documentary Examines Controversy Over Puppy Mill Bill

Airs Wednesday October 28, 2009, 7pm

Focal Point Puppy mills breed puppies for profit in less than humane conditions. New legislation designed to help eliminate them in North Carolina has ignited a political controversy. A new WRAL News Focal Point documentary called “Puppies and Politics” examines the puppy mill problem in our state and the debate that’s erupted over efforts to control it. The documentary airs on WRAL Wednesday October 28 at 7pm and is hosted by WRAL News anchor and reporter Cullen Browder.

In February Wayne County animal control raided a puppy mill operation in Mount Olive called Thornton’s Kennels. They seized 283 dogs.

Most of the dogs were puppies and most were in deplorable condition, suffering from malnutrition, skin infections, flea and tick infestation, rotten teeth and jawbones, imbedded collars, fur matted with feces and urine, ringworm and disease. The owner of the kennel was later convicted of animal cruelty.

Thornton’s Kennel’s was in the district of State Senator Don Davis who introduced legislation to regulate commercial dog breeders who sell to the public. The bill would force the breeders to comply with the same standards of care for their animals that already apply to public and private animal shelters, boarding kennels and pet stores.

The bill narrowly passed in the Senate and stalled in committee in the House when the legislature adjourned in August. The bill will be considered again when the legislature reconvenes next May.

The bill is strongly opposed by many dog breeders, but also by a wide variety of powerful special interest groups, including the American Kennel Club, the National Rife Association and several agri-business organizations. They call the bill arbitrary, vague, and unnecessary and an intrusion on the rights of dog breeders.

There’s another reason for their opposition: the Human Society of the United States supports the bill. The bill’s opponents claim that the HSUS wants to eventually ban all animal breeding and that it’s backing the puppy mill bill as a small step towards its much larger agenda.

Focal Point: “Puppies and Politics” examines that political controversy and looks at the impact of puppy mills on our state.

Focal Point
“Puppies and Politics” is the latest episode in the WRAL documentary series called Focal Point.  These in-depth news documentaries focus on a single topic, bringing depth and clarity to complicated issues facing North Carolina.  From North Carolina’s economy and environment, to health care and race relations – Focal Point takes viewers inside the lives of the people most affected.  Focal Point tackles the tough questions with leaders and policymakers who have the power to effect change.  WRAL News anchors, including David Crabtree, Pam Saulsby, Bill Leslie, Gerald Owens and Debra Morgan, host the series.  Six to eight new episodes of Focal Point will be produced each year. 

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Clay Johnson for this capcom story.

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